BOSTON – Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump announced an audit of the Mass. Bay Transportation Authority’s automated-fare-collection system that highlighted revenue variances of more than $100 million between the system’s records and the actual money collected. In addition, the audit showed missing keys to bus and trolley fare boxes and incomplete tracking of fare-box cash.
The audit, for the five-year period from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2011, showed actual fare-box cash receipts deposited were $123.8 million, whereas the system recorded over $225.5 million in fare-box cash receipts.
This variance of more than $101.7 million “demonstrates significant reliability problems in the MBTA’s collection and control of cash revenue,” Bump said in a news release. “Without such controls, there is inadequate assurance that all funds collected within the system are being properly safeguarded against loss, theft or misuse.”
The contract for the $94 million automated-fare-collection system specified that it must integrate with existing systems, but a state audit conducted in 2005 of the creation of the system revealed that the MBTA had reduced the amount of testing required to ensure that all machines were fully functional and that the interests and assets of the MBTA are protected.
Additionally, the audit found inadequate control over keys to fare-box cash. Until 2007, the MBTA did not have formal policy and procedures in place for managing keys used in the fare-collection system. At the time of the audit, 12 keys that provide access to fare- box cash were missing and 1,313 keys that were unnumbered and cannot be tracked. •